James Conner allegedly raped two girls while working at the Melrose YMCA, he worked at the Andover-North Andover YMCA and slept next to a young girl, let kids sit on his lap and nicknamed a girl "Princess,"
according to interviews and state documents.
Staff members at the Andover-North Andover YMCA reported Conner's conduct to their superiors and Conner was fired from the facility in 2001
, after having worked there since 1995, according to Stephen Ives, president and CEO of Merrimack Valley YMCA.
The Melrose YMCA hired him shortly after his firing
here. He was arrested on child rape and pornography charges in February, according to two recently released reports from the state Department of Early Education and Care.
"It's unbelievable," said Michael Tibaudo, who worked as a counselor-in-training at the Andover-North Andover YMCA and reported Conner's "weird" behavior to his supervisor.
The state reports do not levy allegations of sexual abuse against Conner during his time working at the Andover-North Andover YMCA. But they explain that staff there raised warning flags about his unusually close contact with children.
Now, the 51-year-old North Reading resident is facing more than 20 sex-related charges
involving victims from the Melrose YMCA. The charges include forcible child rape
committed against two victims he coached in girls basketball and multiple child pornography crimes for using hidden cameras to film his assaults
. The girls were younger than 14 at the time, according to a press release from Middlesex County District Attorney Gerry Leone's office.
Conner has posted bail and is being monitored by GPS, according to Leone's press release.
After Conner's arrest, Anne Daly-Conners, an investigator for the Department of Early Education and Care, interviewed administrators at the Melrose YMCA and reviewed Conner's personnel record. She learned Conner was fired from not only the Andover-North Andover YMCA, but also the Reading YMCA.
A former administrator in Reading told Daly-Conners about allegations that Conner "rented a bus for an end-of-the-year party" and "drank alcohol and smoked marijuana with the 15- and 16-year-old counselors".
The investigator spoke to three former administrators of the Andover-North Andover YMCA, two of whom reported warning the Melrose YMCA about Conner.